by John P. Pratt
Reprinted from Meridian Magazine (6 Apr 2000)
©2000 by John P. Pratt. All rights Reserved.
Thursday, April 6, 2000 marks exactly 2000 years since the Savior's birth during the night preceding Thursday, April 6, 1 BC. In a sight worth seeing, the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, along with the Moon will appear to be grouped in the sky on the nights of April 5-6, seemingly a birthday gathering for the Savior's 2000th birthday. Equally intriguing, the other two visible planets, Mercury and Venus will be together about that time as they are last seen in the morning sky.
The Mercury/Venus alignment is also significant because for chronology purposes, both planets are at the beginning point of their cycle. Both of those planets were precisely on that beginning day of their cycles on the day the Savior was born. Thus, we see that the planets are indeed useful for reckoning time, even as the Lord told Moses, that they are "for signs and for seasons" (Gen. 1:14). It may be interesting to note that next month all these planets will also align with the Sun. The cover article "When Planets Align" of the May, 2000 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine is devoted to convincing us that all such planetary alignments are meaningless. But that is just not true: one purpose for which the Lord created the planets was to keep time, and they do it extremely well.